Bizarre New Deep-Sea Creatures Found Off Antarctica

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Wed, 2008-04-02 09:57 by Hans-Georg
Baby Ceratoserolis

Helen Scales
for National Geographic News

May 16, 2007

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A treasure trove of more than 700 new species has been uncovered in the dark depths of oceans surrounding Antarctica, researchers report. (See a photo gallery of the finds.)

Heart-shaped sea urchins, carnivorous sponges, and giant sea spiders the size of dinner plates are among the surprising discoveries brought up from the seafloor about 2,300 to 19,700 feet (700 to 6,000 meters) beneath the Antarctic waves.

"We were astonished by the enormous biodiversity we found in many groups of species," said study lead author Angelika Brandt, a marine biologist at the University of Hamburg in Germany.

"We used to think that, with decreasing nutrient and food availability, there might cause a decrease in biodiversity toward the Poles," Brandt said. …

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